Serum Levels of Hepatocyte Growth Factor and CD40 Ligand Predict Radiation-Induced Liver Injury.


Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, USA. Electronic address: [Email]


BACKGROUND : Declining liver function is a concerning side effect associated with radiation therapy. Biomarkers of liver toxicity would be useful in personalizing therapy.
METHODS : As part of two prospective clinical trials examining adaptive radiation therapy, we collected serum samples from patients receiving liver radiation. We performed a screen of 22 cytokines using a multiplex assay then used ELISA to quantify the cytokines of greatest interest. Subjects were split into screening and validation cohorts. Toxicity was defined as an increase in Child-Pugh score of 2 points or greater within 6 months. Logistic regression models were used to estimate the relationship between our toxicity endpoint and serum cytokine concentrations.
RESULTS : Our initial screen (46 subjects, 11 events) identified hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), CD40L (CD154), and eotaxin (CCL11) as potentially predictive of toxicity. We then tested these markers in an expanded patient cohort (104 subjects, 18 events) with a batch correction due to varying age of the samples which confirmed that high HGF and low CD40L were associated with a subsequent decline in liver function following radiation therapy. Multivariate analysis factoring in baseline Child-Pugh score and mean liver radiation dose demonstrated that HGF and CD40L were potentially predictive of toxicity (HGF OR 4.3, P = .009; CD40L OR 0.5 P = .06). Additionally, higher than median baseline HGF levels (1.4 ng/ml) were significantly associated with decreased survival following liver radiation (27.1 vs 14.5 months, P = .03).
CONCLUSIONS : Our study identifies high HGF and low CD40L as potential markers of liver toxicity following radiation therapy.